Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Roanoke Times Editor Says NYT's Daily TimesCast Logo "Eeerily Similar" To Its TimesCast Logo From 2007.

Among the NYT readers most curious to watch the debut of its daily "TimesCast" video yesterday was Carole Tarrant, editor of The Roanoke Times.

That's because only a few years ago, Tarrant and her team had been responsible for a daily video on the Roanoke Times website -- coincidentally, also called TimesCast.

What surprised Tarrant most about the new webcast was the odd, remarkable similarity between the NYT's TimesCast logo and that of her paper's own daily webcast (pictured above). In a tweet earlier today, Tarrant called the two logos "eerily similar."

"Our logo -- which I can assure you we paid some high-priced marketing people to prepare (not) -- has 'Times' in black and 'Cast' in red, with the two words smooshed together," Tarrant elaborated in an email response to The NYTPicker's questions. "Theirs, uh, has the same."

Tarrant, who had earlier tweeted that the fonts were also "the same," added in a lighthearted jab: "I'm no font expert but I can tell you the font used on both is not 'Times New Roman.'"

The similarities between the two TimesCasts ends with the logo. The Roanoke version was a mostly comical look inside the paper, with narration provided by its staff in a conscious effort to amuse. One member of the newsroom staff, Seth Gitner -- now a professor of journalism at Syracuse -- referred to his TimesCast segment as "Sethual Healing."

Tarrant -- who described the Roanoke effort as "ahead of its time" -- doesn't seem to think much of the NYT's use of its daily page-one meeting as fodder for film.

"There are page-one (or what we here call "budget") meetings that we ourselves can barely stay awake through," Tarrant said. "Expecting to put that on video...and have people watch...good luck to them."

It wasn't clear from Tarrant's comments whether she had yet seen today's TimesCast, which contains an electrifying star turn by Bill Keller in the role of "Executive Editor."

We've emailed NYT spokeswoman Diane McNulty for comment and will update when we hear from her.


Anonymous said...

There are few odd things about this new daily video:

There's only a small segment of the readership that would be interested in watching a page-one meeting. Why do we want to watch people sit around a table and discuss what's important? Do they need to tell us? The meeting itself is important for the newspaper but to the rest of us? I think the readers of the NYT are smart enough to realize the significance of some stories.

The real meeting lasts around one hour each day yet the condense the meeting to less than 10 minutes. So we really aren't seeing the "real thing."

The Times has occasionally let visitors sit in on page-one meetings but we've always been told not to repeat anything that was said in those meetings to sites like Gawker or nowadays, NYTPicker.

How much time is the Times spending to produce this thing? Surely there are more news-worthy videos a video editor could be doing. Or better yet use the money pay the video editor to hire a written word reporter.

Anonymous said...

IHT used to have automated reads of articles available for download as .mp3 files, it very was useful back when I was blind.